The Eagle's Eye

More than 10 teachers set to leave

Catherine+Ballard%2C+Paul+Crockett%2C+and+Erica+Vallejo+among+teachers+who+have+announced+their+departure+from+Akins+at+the+end+of+the+school+year
Catherine Ballard, Paul Crockett, and Erica Vallejo among teachers who have announced their departure from Akins at the end of the school year

Catherine Ballard, Paul Crockett, and Erica Vallejo among teachers who have announced their departure from Akins at the end of the school year

Photos courtesy of Akins Eagle's website

Photos courtesy of Akins Eagle's website

Catherine Ballard, Paul Crockett, and Erica Vallejo among teachers who have announced their departure from Akins at the end of the school year

Mylo Bissell, News Editor

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Along with the graduates who will be saying goodbye to the Akins community, a number of teachers will be departing to new adventures away from the home of the eagles.

So far more than 10 teachers have announced that they would be leaving at the end of the school year.

English teacher Hailey Unger, orchestra director Paul Crockett, and theater tech teacher Erica Vallejo are a few of the educators who have all announced their departures.

“As much as I love Akins, it’s kind of exciting to start a new adventure where everything is unknown,” Vallejo said.

Vallejo did her internship and student teaching at Akins before she started working here. She said that cost of living was a major factor in her decision to
leave.

“It boils down to pay,” she said. “Austin is a very expensive city and I don’t make enough.”

Choir director Catherine Ballard is leaving to be with her family.

“It’s definitely a bittersweet move,” Ballard said. “Even though I will enjoy spending more time with my family, I’m really going to miss all the students here at Akins.”

Ballard has one small child at home and another on the way. She said that she is “looking forward to baby snuggles.”

Unger said that she is leaving because she’s “grown less and less satisfied with public education.” She said that she has become frustrated because of standardized testing and the outlook it gives students on education.

“Standardized testing makes people winners and losers early on,” she said.

Unger said that she hopes that the education system can change, but until it does, she wants to remind students that a test doesn’t define them.

“They are winners and the test does not determine their success or failure,” Unger said.

Ballard said that she wants her students to be persistent as they pursue their dreams.

“Keep trying. Do your best. Don’t give up. You are worth it,” she said.

Erica Vallejo had a similar messages for her current students. She said that they should always try their best. Freshman Zach Coleman said that this aligns with what he will remember of her.

“I’ll miss how she pushed us to always try our hardest and how she always wanted us to make good choices,” Coleman said. “It’s something I will always remember about her.”

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